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The importance of protecting trade secrets

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

Trade secrets are an important component of a business that requires protection. Generally, trade secrets include information that has economic value and is not publicly known. It is important to take reasonable steps to keep trade secrets from being revealed and to keep them secret. Trade secrets that a business owner may wish to protect can include formulas, methods, programs, techniques, processes, customer lists, customer requirements, product specifications, pricing strategies and recipes.

It is important to take reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of trade secrets. Recommended actions to maintain confidentiality of trade secrets include: keeping all materials in a secure place, marking documents as confidential, limiting sensitive information access to employees that need to know only, and having employees with access to sensitive information sign non-disclosure agreements.

Trade secrets can be misappropriated when they have been disclosed through improper means, such as theft. Additional methods of misappropriation can include bribery, misrepresentation, breach of duty to maintain secrecy, and electronic or other forms of espionage.

Misappropriation of trade secrets may be prevented through an injunction or restraining order. Monetary damages may also be awarded in certain circumstances.

Maintaining the secrecy and security of trade secrets can be an important component of a thriving business. As a result, it is important for business owners to understand how to maintain their trade secrets and what to do to take swift legal action if the confidentiality of their trade secrets in threatened or compromised.

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